NASA's SHARP Program Inspires Students To Pursue Space-Related
NASA’s eight-week Summer High
School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP), designed to
encourage the career paths of pre-college students who are
traditionally under-represented, continues to contribute to Kennedy
Space Center’s workforce of the future.
Twenty-one students from counties surrounding KSC arrived on
June 7 to take part in the outstanding learning opportunity offered
through SHARP. They will present their summer research projects at
a public event on July 30 at the KSC Visitor Complex.
SHARP is designed for students who have demonstrated an aptitude
and strong interest in science, technology, engineering,
mathematics, and geography. Participants often include females,
African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders
and the disabled.
Since 1980, nearly 5,700 brilliant high school students have
participated in the program. Statistics indicate that 90 percent of
SHARP students complete college, and many who take part in the
program launch successful careers in space-related fields.
Melissa Jones, a United Space Alliance communications engineer
at KSC participated in the program in 1998. She credits SHARP with
her decision to pursue a career in her field.
"SHARP introduced me to technology
in a way that changed my perspective on engineering," said Jones.
"Without SHARP, I would have never considered engineering."
Each summer, approximately 400 students are selected to
participate in SHARP at NASA Centers across the nation. Some of
NASA’s top science professionals, while conducting
cutting-edge research and working on state-of-the-art equipment,
mentor qualified students who earn a salary for their services.